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Houston Property Owner Voting Guide for November 8 Elections

So you are looking to buy or sell a piece of property? Before you do, let us ask you this:

  • Do you value your private-property rights?
  • Do you believe protecting Houston’s neighborhoods from the needs of a growing city is an important issue?
  • Do you believe that homeownership is key to a stronger Houston economy?

The Houston Association of REALTORS® answered “Yes” to all of these questions, and we advocate on behalf of candidates and issues that serve the best interest of YOU, the property owners of the Greater Houston area.  The list below includes candidates supported by the Houston Association of REALTORS®.

DATES TO REMEMBER

Early Voting: Monday, October 24 through Friday, November 4, 2011

Election Day: Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Houston Association of REALTORS® Recommended Candidates

Mayor

Annise Parker*

Controller

Ronald Green*

District A

Brenda Stardig*

District C

Ellen Cohen

District D

Wanda Adams*

District E

Mike Sullivan*

District F

Al Hoang*

District G

Oliver Pennington*

District H

Ed Gonzalez*

District I

James Rodriguez*

District J

Mike Laster

District K

Larry Green 

At-Large 1

Stephen Costello*

At-Large 3

Melissa Noriega*

At-Large 4

C.O. “Brad” Bradford*

At-Large 5

Jolanda “Jo” Jones*

 *indicates a friendly incumbent

3 Proposed State Constitutional Amendments Supported by TAR & HAR*

  PROPOSITION 1: The constitutional amendment authorizing the Legislature to provide for an exemption from ad valorem taxation of all or part of the market value of the residence homestead of the surviving spouse of a 100 percent or totally disabled veteran.

By easing the financial burden of remaining in the home, Proposition 1 not only honors the memory of the veteran, but the spouse, who also sacrificed for our great country.

  PROPOSITION 2: The constitutional amendment providing for the issuance of additional general obligation bonds by the Texas Water Development Board in an amount not to exceed $6 billion at any time outstanding.

Our state’s population is growing faster than our ability to provide adequate supply of water. Proposition 2 will not cost taxpayers any money. It allows local communities to utilize the state’s better bond rating, thus spending less money financing much-needed water projects.

  PROPOSITION 8: The constitutional amendment providing for the appraisal for ad valorem tax purposes of open-space land devoted to water stewardship purposes on the basis of its productive capacity.

This allows landowners who have what’s commonly referred to as the “ag exemption” to shift their focus from ag operations to water stewardship in an effort to conserve our state’s water resources.

* These are 3 of 10 Proposed Constitutional Amendments. For the full list, please click here.

   To find out who your representatives are, please click here.

*Pol. Adv. paid for by the Texas Association of REALTORS® Issues Mobilization Political Action Committee

34 thoughts on “Houston Property Owner Voting Guide for November 8 Elections

  1. Why does HAR only support liberal democrats? It clearly is not the will of the members who pay their dues to give money and support to candidates that do not believe in property rights and limited government. HAR should take a poll of it’s members before endorsing a candidate.

  2. The issue regarding Costello for our organization is property rights.  HAR starts this page by commenting about property rights yet has endorsed all of the candidates who eliminated them.  Being a “friendly incumbent” shouldn’t include going against one of HAR’s 1st missions…advocating for the rights of property owners.  And those of us intimately involved also know that the Parker administration was anything but friendly to HAR over that issue.  Having said that, the other issue with HAR supporting Costello isn’t the idea of Renew Houston or Rebuild Houston as it has now been dubbed.  It is another tax on homeowners at a time when another tax burden is the last thing homeowners need. 
    There are a lot of people very upset with HAR for endorsing the people who took their property rights. 
    As far as taking a seat at the table, perhaps I would have been more inclined had HAR not given Sue Lovell an award for taking my property rights.  It was a HUGE stab in the back for all of the area realtors to see Sue Lovell BRAGGING about HAR honoring her over the HPO.  I received many comments from Heights Realtors who were very offended by HAR’s action after the vote on Council (and their lack of further involvement. 
    I was very involved, I did have a seat at the table (so to speak) yet when Mayor Parker dupped the Realtor on council into doing her dirty work and passed an UNDEMOCRATIC measure, then didn’t follow the law she enacted, HAR said nothing and then congratulated Parker’s henchman for her hard work and success.  (And by the way, Lovell bashed Realtors publicly time and time again calling us run-amok Realtors and called us liars although could never back up her lies about that or anything else).  So when you say we don’t carry any weight because we didn’t volunteer to be on the political advisory board, you are forgetting the time we spent ACTUALLY doing what Realtors are supposed to do…stand up for the property rights of our clients, friends and neighbors.  And our own association bailed out when it got hard. 
    Perhaps HAR should re-evaluate their friendly incumbent policies because when you endorse candidates who voted to eliminate the property rights of thousands of homeowners, you do a disservice to your members but more importantly to the property owners who are our clients.

  3. I shouldn’t be suprised at anything after suffering through the blatant disregard for people’s rights by our city government over the past 14 months but here it is….yet another slap in the face of property owners. Really sad, angry and disappointed that the Houston Realtor’s Association has chosen to support people for election that are OK with the horrible methods used to force home owners to be in a Historic District with a book full of restrictions and getting what they want by any means. I guess either Parker or some council members are friends with the higher ups at HAR or there is money involved. Many home owners have suffered because of the unyielding, uncompromising, unfair, dictatorship of the mayor and many city council members. Yes I have heard all the believers justifications that taking control of people’s property was the right thing to do. The greater good blah, blah, blah. Anyone can justify their actions, however.  Murderers and rapist justify what they do but that doesn’t make it right.  And Studehiker I had a knee jerk reaction and started to respond to your oh so eloquent writing about having a life to live. Then I remembered the number of people like you I tried to communicate with over the past months.  No bending, no compassion for others, feeling so entitled to what belongs to others etc.  It must be so nice to feel so superior to the rest of us.  But your perspective is a little off.  This issue isn’t settled just stalled by Parker and there was no compromise.  If you are so sure of your win tell Parker to stop stalling and put the vote on the agenda.  But who knows…hopefully she won’t have time to do that. 

  4. HAR didn’t even invite me to screen.  HAR also purports to support ‘private property rights’ while endorsing incumbent candidates who voted to restrict the private property rights of Houstonians.  HAR seems to be neither thoughtful nor sincere in endorsing ‘best qualified’ candidates. 

    How’s the new ‘drainage fee’ helping local property taxes?  Does HAR truly  believe businesses or residents will prefer Houston knowing the City’s so unstable financially it’s implementing new taxes for core services?  Why will property buyers who care about the taxes and fess they pay choose Houston instead of Sugar Land, Cypress, Katy, etc.? 

    There are many choices in a free market place.  It’s too bad Houston’s incumbent council members are pricing Houston out of that market, and HAR is playing along with them.

    Scott Boates, candidate in At-Large Pos. 1

    1. Scott,

      HAR should have screened all of the candidates who were running, especially in races where the incumbent did NOT support property rights, as is the case in your race.  Steve Costello told me in a private, 1 on 1 meeting that he supported property rights and that he expecgted homeowner approval of 67% to change or remove those rights.  Then he voted with the mayor for the elimination of thousands of homeowners property rights.  Saying you support something has to be backed up by your voting record.  Costello has a dismal record on property rights. 

      Responsible Historic Preservation has endorse you as the candidate for Council At Large Position 1, who does actually support property rights and will vote that way.  We have sent our recommendation to our supporters and will continue to throughout the election season.  The founders of RHP are realtors who actually do stand up for property rights, as opposed to our association board, who gave in to the wishes of the administration and who have endorsed the candidates who eliminated property rights, not upheld them!

    1. Actually, we have not removed or deleted anyone’s comments. The only time we would would be if someone said something discriminatory or otherwise patently offensive. Intelligent and thoughtful discussion is always welcome, including differing opinions and positions than the advisory groups and Board (which are made up entirely of other members).

  5. HAR’s ability to look look after the Political Interests of it’s Members is embarrassing, to say the least. At most, they are wildly uniformed or detached from the goals of the Realtor community in this City. I shouldn’t say that I’m surprised though. If you recall the last election where HAR glowingly endorsed a “Pro-Business”, and ironically a Pro – “Cap & Tax” incumbent, US Rep. Ms. Sheila. ( I use this only as an example and not to start a new flame).  I get the distinct feeling that the goal of our Association is to ‘make nice’ with those folks currently in office. Maybe HAR doesn’t want to make anyone currently in charge angry. HAR needs to understand that we’re not trying to sell a house here, by trying to get the decision makers to like us. We’re talking about getting the right Candidates elected that will move this City and our Industry in the direction we need to go. Open your eyes and ears HAR, sometimes the right decision isn’t the easiest one.

    1. Sadly, you are out of touch. Is Sheila Jackson Lee your Congresswoman? I doubt she is. Her constituents vote her into office time and time again with an overwhelming majority of the vote. She has been a friend of REALTORS, and HAR specifically, throughout her tenure. 
       
      Do you like being able to deduct your home mortgage interest on your federal tax return?  Do you like selling houses to people who can do the same?  Well, Sheila Jackson Lee is one of the leaders in Congress trying to save the MID from the chopping block.  Do you think the appraisal industry needs reform?  Well sadly, many don’t, but Sheila Jackson Lee has worked with our delegation to reform home appraisals, and backed legislation that would accomplish this.  Do you like being able to buy and sell houses in Houston, with thousands and thousands of homes in so-called “100-year” and “500-year” flood plains?  Do you realize without a National Flood Insurance Program (which is under serious threat of elimination) practically no one would be able to afford private insurance to protect against flooding?  Sheila Jackson Lee has worked to keep the NFIP on solid ground.
       
      You may have personal issues with Sheila Jackson Lee – her style, her propensity to vocalize her opinion, etc.  But if you are a REALTOR, then she has consistently been supportive of your profession, whether you knew it or not. 

  6. I have to say, I am generally not one to post on websites.  I have a life to live and it seems petty and silly to waste time conjuring up old, settled issues. I’m an East Heights resident.    Being a Heights resident, I also know the strong and vocal anti-historic preservation ordinance residents.  At my core, I agree with their position. I would be delusional to not accept the fact that I no longer have the same rights under the new ordinance.  Unfortunately I cannot support their demeanor or tactics.  It’s painfully obvious the machine is in full force on this website.  Time, it seems, does not heal all wounds.  Two things are facts: 1) a compromise was reached.  Neither side got what they wanted, and thank goodness for that; 2) a majority of property owners participating in the process (yes, I know about the flaws so no need to rehash) disagreed with them.  I understand not getting 100% of what you want is difficult. But, sensible, mature minds see the value in compromise.  It’s a virtue that seems lost in today’s rigid and angry public arena. I, for one, respect the cool, collected heads that reached compromise on historic preservation. Its probably how they rose to the level of civic leaders.  As for the statement that this was “the LARGEST taking of private property rights in the HISTORY of the City of Houston,” I would encourage anyone who accepts this as fact to do a little more historical research about the many significant instances of lost property rights without real due process and just compensation – the annexation and devastation of Harrisburg due to government’s expansion of the port and ship channel –  the obliteration of hundreds and hundreds of homes for freeway expansion (Riverside Terrace comes to mind).  This city is full of large-scale takings by government in the name of progress. It’s probably why the City of Houston has become the GREATEST city in which to live and work.  But my view is not so uncompromising that I can’t see some value in maintaining a part of our history.  I can’t believe how long this post ended up, and now I am going outside and enjoy this fall weather on the hike and bike.

    1. Dear Hiker”
       
      You said you don’t want to:
       
      “waste time conjuring up old, settled issues”
      And
      “Two things are facts: 1) a compromise was reached.  Neither side got what they wanted, and thank goodness for that; 2) a majority of property owners participating in the process (yes, I know about the flaws so no need to rehash) disagreed with them.” 
       
      You have a few “facts” to research which you might do before you waste any more time posting here. 
       
      First, this is far from a “settled issue.”  If you are a resident of East Heights, and you had done your research, you would know that the East Heights was one of two districts that the Council has vetoed.  Parker has ignored their vote.  If you think the residents of the East Heights are going to just let sleeping dogs lie, you are mistaken.
       
      Second, regarding your two “facts.”  1.)  There was no compromise.  That was the essential problem with the process.  Parker wanted what she wanted and she didn’t care how she got it.  She lied, and cheated her way through it and when her own council didn’t vote her way, she pretended they didn’t vote at all.   2.)  a majority did not participate, which is the other part of the problem.  A majority didn’t disagree with anyone.  And if you take the 44% who outright said no in an extremely flawed and undemocratic process and the other 21% who never agreed to it in the first place and couldn’t be bothered one way or the other to get involved a year ago when all this was in full tilt, it only leaves 35% who perhaps still wanted an historic designation.  35% is hardly a majority which is why the city council voted down Heights East.  If there had been a majority as you claim is a “fact” then I doubt, given all the pressure they were under by Parker (who tried to bribe them with favors) 8 council members would have said NO to her for Heights East and West. 
       
      It’s a shame you didn’t spend more time finding out the facts before you posted but perhaps you will before you post a response.  

      1. Ah! Clearly another East resident. That’s some real passion and knowledge.  Howdy neighbor.  I can assure you I do pay attention to the issue.  It may not command every waking minute of my existence, but trust me, I care enough to keep informed.  I know all about the Council vote on East and West this spring. We both know Council didn’t “veto” the East (and West) district.  If that were the effect of the vote (and if that were even possible under the law) I don’t know if the vote would have gone that way. Its much more nuanced.  Everything with this issue is nuanced, and it is silly to try and conduct a debate on a medium such the comment section of a blog posting.  My original post was really about historic preservation in general and not any specific district. 
         
        Regarding a majority/minority, I think you are talking specifically about the East (I was not).  Didn’t say that a majority participated. I know a majority did not participate. That’s a root of the problem. But, I don’t think we will agree on the meaning (i.e., approval or disapproval) of those who remained silent. To me, silence is apathy. [Now lets hear it about the flawed process…] 

        What’s settled is the Historic Preservation Ordinance is the law of the city.  It was a difficult process, but there was compromise on both sides. That cannot be denied.  I’m not a single-issue voter. When choosing who to vote for, I think this 600-square-mile city of 2 million residents has dozens of issues more important to consider.  But if you want to work you’re hardest to elect people to overturn that law, that’s patriotic and wonderful. But I don’t think we’ll be bumping into each other at election night parties for years to come.  

  7. You MUST be delirious!  Value our Property Rights?!?  How could Houston realtors back this board, especially Annise Parker, when they TOOK AWAY OUR PROPERTY RIGHTS IN AN UNFAIR AND UNJUST FASHION!!!  Shame on you HAR!!!

  8. I am shocked that HAR would endorse candidates like Mayor Parker and Ed Gonzalez.  These candidates demonstrated a complete lack of respect for property owners rights in the handling of the forced historic preservation in the Heights as well as Glenbrook Valley.  Parker herself demonstrated that the due process of the law is less important to her than winning.  As a staunch Democrat and supporter of equality no matter your colr, gender or sexual preference, I voted for her last time but I do not believe that I have made a bigger mistake at the polls in 20 years.   Not only did they completely fail to ensure proper community support for their incredibly restrictive measures, they failed to listen when it was demonstrated that there was NOT support in the community.  Even when the majority of city council voted against Parker on the Heights District, she ignored the her own law (ordinance) which said that City Council vote is final.  But since Mayor Parker did not like the outcome of that vote, she sent it back to planning because she is praying that she can stack the deck further in this election against us homeowners who do not agree with her vision for our property.  I guess with the help of HAR and other uninformed groups, she may win her campaign against my property rights.  I am disappointed that HAR would support anyone so clearly against me having my private property rights, but worse to tout HAR’s recommendations as candidates that value private property rights.  Shame on you.

  9. Ed Gonzalez could care less about his constituents the past two
    years because Parker gave him a new district with overwhelming Hispanic
    demographics away from most of the controversies. He not only misrepresented
    his district regarding the Historic Districts Ordinance, he also supported Wal-Mart
    in the Heights and now wants to give corporate welfare to Krogers that will
    cost the City 5.17% interst to repay at least $2.5 Million. He’s in it for
    himself, not for the people in his district.

  10. Extremely surprised at these endorsements; I assumed this organization would be exceptionally informed on the issue of property rights, particularly now considering our present economy.  The historical preservation mandate absolutely, clearly and positively opposes property rights, the rights for the property owner to make decisions regarding their property’s outcome.  Our family bought property in 2005 and in 2006 our property rights were removed without due process.  Our group has been involved in the fight for responsible and reasonable historic preservation since; responsible preservation is why we bought in this neighborhood.  The existing revitalization in the Heights and other districts happened because folks bought old homes and rehabilitated them, because they wanted to, not due to a government mandate, the mandate has proved to cause stagnation in remodeling and rehabilitation.  Our group has interviewed political candidates for every election since 2005, attended community meetings and spoke at CC.  Followed the issue and kept track of voting patterns.  The candidates below have consistently voted against “Property Rights”, in fact they voted on agenda items acknowledging the process was ‘flawed’. Annise Parker, Ed Gonzalez, Mike Sullivan, Al Hoang, James Rodriguez, Stephen Costello, Melissa Noriega, Ellen Cohen and Brenda Stardig are not supporters of development, growth and responsible preservation in our community.  Maria Isabel 713.542.0721
     

  11. I can’t believe that HAR is endorsing Ed Gonzalez, who stripped us in the Heights of our property rights.   …as did Mayor Parker.  But, Ed was more of a back-stab since he represented us in this district.  Is there anyway to turn this around?????

  12. These candidates do not value private property rights. Their “shove it down your throat” and like it approach to “histerical” districts proved that. Without even a simple majority of homeowners approving a crippling and confiscatory historic district formation, these morons passed it anyway because they know best. Pathetic.

  13. It is with great sadness to see so many corrupt politicians whose aggenda is only protecting a few including themselves still in office.  If I had any power at all, I would have them removed  from office.  To see so many professionals at the HAR endorsing these politicians without knowing the actual fact is even more sad.  I hope to see these politicians removed at the upcoming election.  As for the folks at the HAR, please do more research before supporting a City Government Representetives.

    1. City Government Representative? Really? Is that what you’re calling our Houston City Council Members? As a heights resident, I am well aware of the facts, and was as involved as I could be in handling the Historic Preservation Ordinance. Rather than be Kathleen’s puppet, you should heed your own advice and research what it is you’re in outcry about. Surely, if you are a mature adult, you can appreciate the compromise that was reached between Heights residents and our elected officials. I’m sick and tired of the minority group out there still whining that they didn’t get their way. Let’s be adults here.

      1. OK. I guess I am someone’s puppet in your eyes, but I am sure that you have the same agenda as your City Council Members who are forcing their ideas down everyone else’s throat; Therefore making their personal gains larger.  I know you people like to isolate yourselves from the rest of the world, because you think you are better than everyone else, but that was an era when you had the ability to bully your fellow Citizens.

        1. I won’t dignify this childish comment with a response. We’ll let the election results speak for themselves on this one…

  14. Amazing! How can you with a straignt face indicate that these incumbents, especially Parker, Rodriguez and Gonzalez, stand for property rights?  HAR has completely sold out.  HAR’s picks will never be of any importance in my consideration again. 

  15. Lindsay, I am going to assume you know NOTHING about the historic preservation ordinance issue based on your posting.  It has been the LARGEST taking of private property rights in the HISTORY of the City of Houston.  I am also going to assume that the 20 realtors who screened the candidates didn’t know anything about the issue either.  However, what a candidate says has NOTHING to do with what they do.  HAR should consider how they vote on PRIVATE PROPERTY ISSUES before they consider what they say.  I assure you that the candidates I mentioned, Parker, Costello, Gonzalez, Rodriguez, Noriega, Stardig and Adams all voted to take away the property rights of thousands of homeowners against the majority of the residents.  Furthermore, Parker has DEFIED the will of the city council regarding two of the Heights districts who voted against her wishes to retain these districts.  She even went so far as to state at a Heights Association meeting that she understood the majority did not support the designation but she did what she wanted based on her personal beliefs.  This is NOT supporting private property rights.  I realize you are doing your job but you CANNOT defend the vote of these folks and there is NO WAY that HAR shoud have endorsed them.  I am going to send out a link to our supporters and perhaps some of them can explain to you why it is a problem for them that HAR endorsed these folks.  And as far as getting involved…I am involved but I won’t get involved at HAR because they actually gave Sue Lovell an award for taking my property rights!!!  Me and a whole lot of ofther realtors in the Heights area were incredibly insulted by HAR’s actions in this matter.  Endorsing those folks just rubs salt in the wounds.
     

  16. What I find particularly troubling is that this page starts out asking “Do you value your private-property rights?” Yet HAR has endorsed all of the candidates that voted in favor of the largest taking of private property rights in the history of the City of Houston.  You can’t call yourself an advocate for private property rights when you endorse the very people who eliminated them for thousands of Houstonians against the majority of their communities.  Incumbents Mayor Parker, along with Steve Costello, Ed Gonzalez, James Rodriquez, Wanda Adams, Brenda Stardig, and Melissa Noriega do not deserve the endorsement of HAR or any other group claiming to support private property rights and they certainly don’t deserve the votes of those of us who do actually care about private property rights.  Incumbents CO Bradford, Jolanda Jones and Oliver Pennington were the only ones who not only voted against the taking of these rights but were vehemently opposed to the Parker adminstration’s behavior and actions.  They are the only ones who really put their vote where the convictions are. 

    1. Thank you for your comments. We had a group of roughly 20 Realtor volunteers who screened candidates for Houston City Council. Every candidate screened was asked to complete a thorough candidate questionnaire and answer direct interview questions.  The process helps ensure our recommended candidate best aligns with the issues supported by The REALTOR® Party.  We also work under a “friendly incumbent” policy, which is to generally support those elected officials that have been supportive of our issues while in office, and willing to work with Realtors when approached about an issue of concern. This is a policy that is practiced by many organizations. We encourage you to get involved with our Political Affairs Advisory Group for future races. You can sign-up by going to this link: http://www.har.com/getinvolved/

      1. Lindsay, I am going to assume you know NOTHING about the historic preservation ordinance issue based on your posting.  It has been the LARGEST taking of private property rights in the HISTORY of the City of Houston.  I am also going to assume that the 20 realtors who screened the candidates didn’t know anything about the issue either.  However, what a candidate says has NOTHING to do with what they do.  HAR should consider how they vote on PRIVATE PROPERTY ISSUES before they consider what they say.  I assure you that the candidates I mentioned, Parker, Costello, Gonzalez, Rodriguez, Noriega, Stardig and Adams all voted to take away the property rights of thousands of homeowners against the majority of the residents.  Furthermore, Parker has DEFIED the will of the city council regarding two of the Heights districts who voted against her wishes to retain these districts.  She even went so far as to state at a Heights Association meeting that she understood the majority did not support the designation but she did what she wanted based on her personal beliefs.  This is NOT supporting private property rights.  I realize you are doing your job but you CANNOT defend the vote of these folks and there is NO WAY that HAR shoud have endorsed them. 

        I am going to send out a link to our supporters and perhaps some of them can explain to you why it is a problem for them that HAR endorsed these folks.  And as far as getting involved…I am involved but I won’t get involved at HAR because they actually gave Sue Lovell an award for taking my property rights!!!  Me and a whole lot of ofther realtors in the Heights area were incredibly insulted by HAR’s actions in this matter.  Endorsing those folks just rubs salt in the wounds.

      2. The only thing that is consistent with these candidates is that they all have the same ideology and are from the same political party. Seems pretty biased.

    2. “HAR has endorsed all of the candidates that voted in favor of the largest taking of private property rights in the history of the City of Houston.”

      HA! You’re not from Houston, are you? Get your history straight.

  17. I Agree with Kathleen, very disappointing that HAR has endorsed mayor Parker. Not my choice for Mayor, and will not endorse her or any other candidate that HAR has suggested. Being a “friendly incumbent” should not get you a HAR endorsement.

  18. It is disappointing that HAR has endorsed Mayor Parker, Steve Costello, Ed Gonzalez, James Rodriguez and Melissa Noriega all of who have not supported the property rights of Houston homeowners.  In particular, Mayor Parker has publicly said that property rights and property values were not issues that guide her decisions.  Being a “friendly incumbent” should not automatically get you a HAR endorsement. 

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